PORT ANGELES — A woman whose body was found on Valentine’s Day in a forested area south of Blyn had threatened to expose her three-year romantic relationship with her alleged murderer, a married man, according to Clallam County Superior Court records.
Alejandro Jesse Aguilera-Rojas, 23, of Renton was charged Monday with second-degree murder with a deadly-weapon enhancement in the death of Dioneth Lopez, 21, of San Pablo, Calif.
Second-degree murder is a Class A felony in which a person causes the death of another without premeditation.
Rojas’ arraignment is 1:30 p.m. March 6.
He remained in the Clallam County jail Monday on $1 million bail.
The discovery of Lopez’s body in the Buckhorn Wilderness, clad in a hoodie with “Love” printed on the hood, a heavy jacket, sweat pants, and pink tennis shoes, was reported by a Bremerton resident at 11 a.m. Feb. 14, according to the probable cause statement.
The body, which had lacerations and showed signs of head trauma, was found on a spur of U.S. Forest Service Road 28 south of the Longhouse Market near 7 Cedars Casino.
An autopsy had not been completed as of Monday, county Coroner-Prosecuting Attorney Mark Nichols said.
Lopez and Rojas stayed at the market for about seven hours on the evening of Feb. 10, spending much of the time in Rojas’ red Chevy Silverado pickup truck, according to the store’s surveillance footage.
“We have no evidence to suggest why they chose there other than there was forest nearby,” Sheriff’s office Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King said Monday.
The video also captured an image of Rojas’ license plate.
Rojas, from Uruapan Del Progresso, Mchioacan De Ocamp, in south-central Mexico, according to his Facebook page, is married and has children, according to court records.
A friend of Lopez’s told investigators that Rojas and Lopez “had been involved in a relationship since 2017,” according to the probable statement.
Lopez was not married and did not have children, King said.
Lopez’s mother said the two had met on Facebook.
A friend of Lopez’s told another friend “that she was going to tell Rojas’s wife about their affair if he didn’t hang out with her,” according to the statement.
Authorities put Rojas under surveillance, linking him with Lopez’s disappearance from the store video and his Facebook page.
Lopez’s mother said Rojas told her he picked up Lopez Feb. 10 in Seattle following her trip to Mexico, and that she then hiked with friends.
Authorities matched Lopez’s Facebook photo with her image in the Longhouse store video, according to the statement.
She also was identified by matching her fingerprints with California Division of Motor Vehicles records.
A friend also had filed a missing person report on Lopez with the San Pablo Police Department that was obtained by the sheriff’s office.
Surveillance footage at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport showed Rojas picking up Lopez, who was identified further by her clothing, the same attire as that found on the body.
The State Patrol stopped Rojas and Lopez, who was a passenger in his truck, at Discovery Bay in Jefferson County at about 10:38 am. Feb. 10 for having expired license tabs and for Rojas driving on a suspended license.
“There’s nothing remarkable on his criminal record,” King said.
Location data from Rojas’ cellphone put him in the area of the murder scene on Feb. 11 between 8:34 a.m. and 8:44 a.m.
Between Feb. 1-Feb. 11, the two exchanged more than 2,500 messages, according to the probable cause statement.
Rojas, who worked odd jobs in construction, according to King, was under surveillance when he was apprehended while pressure-washing a deck at a King County location, King said.
In an interview Feb. 19 with an FBI agent and a detective in King County, Rojas said he picked up Lopez at Sea-Tac International Airport and took her to Sequim to meet friends with whom she was going to go hiking.
He said they slept by the rest rooms at the Longhouse, after which he drove her into the woods, where she said she was going to wait for her friends, according to the probable cause statement.
In the interview Rojas referred to two folding knives “without prompting” that were found at the site where Lopez’s body was found, a blue knife with blood on the blade and a red knife near Lopez’s hand, according to the statement.
Lacerations to Lopez’s neck and arms were consistent with being cut with a knife, according to the statement.
A broken 1.75-litre Hornitos tequila bottle was found near her body.
“Rojas said Loepz was going to kill his wife and children,” according to the statement.
“Lopez tried stabbing him, but did not reach him.
“Lopez fell and hit her head on the open truck door.
“Hitting her head dazed her.
“Rojas hit Lopez on the head with the tequila bottle.
“He pushed Lopez into the woods and drove away.
“The fight happened on the morning of 2-11-20.”
Rojas was booked into the Clallam County jail Feb. 20.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].